Adriana's 21st Birthday

Team Fundraising Goal: $2,100.00

Total Number of Gifts: 51
Total Value of Gifts: $3,406.00

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Isaza-Valenzuela

Hubert and Nelly

Hsieh family

L Arbib

Russ

Carlos y Connie

Echevarria-Gasca Family

Cristina Carrasquilla

Johnny and Nancy

Bortfeld-Steely Family

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Adriana's 21st Birthday

Goal:
$2,100.00
Achieved:
$3,406.00

162 percent of goal achieved.

I’ve been lucky from a very young age. When I was only a few months old, I was scheduled to have a leg amputation at a local hospital in Bogota. The night before the surgery that would’ve cost me my leg, my parents got a letter from Shriner’s Hospital for Children, telling them that their daughter, me, had been accepted for free care at the hospital. My parents walked to my doctor’s house in Bogota (he lived around the block) and told the very annoyed man that I would not be going through with the surgery. That letter, having arrived exactly on time, changed my life, and ever since then I have been lucky enough to have Shriner’s in my life, making the life I’ve led possible.

At a year and a half old, I got my first prosthetic leg from the hospital and immediately began to learn to walk. I became a fascination to my grandparents when I got back to Colombia and they followed me up and down, up and down the stairs, never getting tired of my newly discovered ability to conquer steps upright.

If you think buying shoes every few months for a growing kid is expensive, imagine what getting a new leg as often would cost you. Fortunately I can’t tell you, precisely, because that’s not something my parents or I ever had to worry about. Year after year, I got new legs, new feet, all of them destined to be scratched up, drawn on, dropped, soaked, and otherwise treated as a child’s belonging. With them, I got to partake not just in gym class, but in the dance classes at my school. I got to learn how to climb through the playground, roller skate, ride a bike, run away from my parents; all the things a well-meaning, sometimes troublesome child figures out. And through all of that I never had to think of myself as different, as more limited than my friends, as less able. I was always able to keep up.

When I was eight, I underwent a very long, complicated procedure designed to prevent my body from becoming lopsided over time. I spent a long time in the hospital, I had several surgeries. When things went wrong, the hospital just kept working on my case until they could set things right. I became close friends with the in-patient school teacher, as well as with some of the nurses. I’ll never forget Linda, who would sit with me and braid my hair whenever I had her as my nurse.

During this treatment, the hospital took a huge step that allowed me to maintain my freedom, even when restricted at various points by crutches, walkers, wheelchairs; you name it, I’ve had it. I was the first patient Shriners ever allowed to become an outpatient while still having the Ilizarov. Sure, I had a huge metal frame around my leg, had to take all kinds of medicines and had to make sure I took care of daily treatments, but despite all of this, I could go to class. I could still go to friends’ houses, go to music lessons, play in the park. But that wasn’t enough. Thanks to the incredibly dedicated staff at Shriners, I was also able to walk around on my own. Apart from being the first patient released from the hospital with Ilizarov, I was also the first for whom a leg, attachable to the Ilizarov frame, was built.

I won’t lie, it wasn’t always easy. I will never forget my first day of third grade when, amidst all my excitement over new clothes, a new school, and new friends, the leg broke apart from my Ilizarov and I finished out the day in a wheelchair. Nor the time I fell while walking around outside and got a hairline fracture from my leg hitting metal leg attached to the frame. But no need for an emergency room visit or anything like that; Each time, my parents just took me to Shriners and they quite happily made room for me in the doctors’ schedules and put all my pieces back together.

As I grew older, Shriners adapted both to my heightened sense of self-image and to my greater desire for activity. In middle school I got my first leg with an adjustable ankle, and you cannot imagine my joy at finally being able to wear high-heeled shoes. This joy wore off somewhat quickly when I realized what a pain they are to walk in, but you can be sure that I still got myself a nice pair of black shoes and wore them whenever I could get away with it. And when I asked for a leg that would let me push myself further in sports, my prosthetic doctor didn’t hesitate to make me a sports leg. Not only that, he told me that if I ever needed a leg more specialized to a specific sport, I should just let him know.

It’s hard to imagine where I would be were it not for Shriners. It would’ve been very difficult to get prosthetics for me growing up, never mind the fancier legs I started getting once I was older. Nor would I have been able to live my life with the peace of mind that I could take chances and if something went wrong, I would always have Shriners there to help me out. Just recently I went to see my doctor with a sports leg that had, quite possibly, taken a bit more abuse than it was designed for. He took a good look at it, spent some time taking it apart, replaced a few small parts, cleaned it out, and handed it back to me. When I apologized sheepishly for having put the leg through so much, he waved me off and just answered “Don’t worry about it. Keep living your life.”

For twenty one years that precise attitude has let me take advantage of a host of opportunities that would’ve otherwise seemed prohibitive. With Shriners there for me, I’ve learned that I’m not disabled or less abled. If anything, I am differently abled, but that’s nothing that can’t be overcome with a little research, some handy tools and a few spare parts. Shriners has given me everything I need to be myself and to find success with the greatest possible ease, and they have never charged me a dime for it. I cannot even imagine what my medical bill would come out to at this age. A few wheelchairs, a few sets of crutches, some walkers, and many doctors’ visits, all individually costing in the hundreds of dollars. On top of that, several surgeries and many prolonged hospital stays, of which I cannot begin to imagine the cost. And of course, there’s the legs, at several thousand dollars each.

On my twenty-first birthday I will graduate from Shriners’ hospital. It is, after all, a hospital for children, and I won’t be a child in any sense any longer. For this occasion, I want to give back a little bit of what they have given me. I want to raise money for the hospital that has supported me in so many ways, beyond any kind of care money could buy. So please forgo any gifts of jewelry or clothes and don’t buy me a drink to celebrate my 21st. Instead, donate some money to this fund. It would mean the world to me to be able to thank the people who have helped me live my life. Who knows, maybe this money could help fund some other little girls’ first leg and help her begin her life with no adventure off-limits. Thank you all so much!

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Records 1 - 25 of 30

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Francy Filigrana
Thu, Nov 04, 2010
Hola Adriana, tu eres una gota de esperanza para mucha gente que la ha perdido. Aunque no te conosco personalmente pero te imagino como eres por la forma en que se expresa tu madre de ti, ya que tu eres su orgullo y su todo y ahora entiendo el porque.
Que Dios te bendiga hoy manana y siempre.
Francy Giraldo Cortes

Papá y mamá
Mon, Sep 27, 2010
Adriana, este noble y generoso gesto tuyo nos llena de orgullo. Tu intención es muy linda como lo es también el maravilloso grupo de gente que te ha apoyado. ¡Muy feliz cumpleaños! Un beso.

Martha, Patty & Tia Clara
Sat, Sep 25, 2010
Un pequeno regalito doe parte del las tres. Te veremos manana.
Beso,

Sue Wood at Jolly*Wood Acres
Wed, Sep 22, 2010
YAAYY!!! you did it! Rock on!

Amber Tulloch
Tue, Sep 21, 2010
Adriana,
You are an amazing woman and probably one of the most upbeat and positive people I have ever met. Shine on. Also, you made your goal!!
Have fun and see you soon I hope,
Amber

Marina Lopez
Tue, Sep 21, 2010
Adriana que historia tan hermosa que cuenta , que mensaje, que enseñanzas que todo, admiro sus valores , su forma de ver la vida de verdad la felicito de corazon y espero que Dios la guarde siempre y le conceda como hasta ahora los deseos de su corazon, felicito tambien a esos papas que contribuyeron en gran parte a formar una persona tan valiosa como usted.
Bendiciones en su cumpleaños

David and Leah McIntosh
Tue, Sep 21, 2010
Happy Birthday! Sarah was so lucky to become your friend during SYA, and we are lucky to know you and your wonderful parents. Please know that you will always be part of our family. Because you rock!!!

Jennifer Schumacher
Thu, Sep 16, 2010
adriana, i am so thrilled to see that your birthday fund drive is really growing! that's amazing and a testament to how incredible you are! felice compleannos!
love, shoes

sonia avendaño valenzuela
Tue, Sep 14, 2010
Adrianita: A través de este mensaje quiero felicitarte en tu cumpleaños 21, darle gracias a Dios y a todas aquellas personas que te apoyaron siempre, en especial a los médicos del hospital y a quien logró tu admisión. Tu eres un ejemplo de vida, inteligencia y bondad, te felicito porque aún siendo tan joven has dedicado tiempo, esfuerzo y dinero para apoyar a otras personas menos afortunadas. Que siempre concerves tu buen carácter, equilibrado y amable, pero ante todo tu templanza y paciencia. Exitos en tus estudios este año y extiende mi gratitud a todos los que hacen posible que la gran labor de este hospital se sostenga en el tiempo y le pido a Dios para que nunca cierre sus puertas.

Juan Pablo Valenzuela
Tue, Sep 14, 2010
Ésta es solo una muestra más de tu gran corazón y de tu espíritu incontenible.
Felicitaciones por tu cumpleaños y espero que pronto nos podamos ver de nuevo.

Kim Waters
Tue, Sep 14, 2010
You're beautiful and I'm so happy to have you as a friend in my life! Thanks for being an inspiration to everyone who loves you!

Martha Lemieux
Sun, Sep 12, 2010
Chère Adriana:
Comme on sais qui tu auras pas beaucoup des messages en francais On va profiter pour le pratiquer un peu.
Félicitations dans ton anniversaire de naissance.
Siempre nos sorprendimos de verte con esa decicion y caracter para sobreponerse a todos los obstaculos,
Que Dios te siga guiando en el camino de la vida y te de toda la félicidad que te mereces.
Tus papas pueden estar orgullos de ti.
Con Carino Martha y Gilles

María Helena Isaza
Sat, Sep 11, 2010
Qué belleza de historia me hiciste llorar, te felicito porque nunca te has detenido ante nada, eres un ejemplo para todos y cada uno de los que hemos tenido la fortuna de ser, un poquito, parte de tu vida, estoy segura que lograras todo lo que te propongas como hasta ahora lo has hecho .A tus papas que al igual que Shriners han estado siempre apoyandote y que estoy segura han pasado momentos difíciles pero también momentos de grandes satisfacciones los felicito de todo corazón deben ser los papas más orgullosos del mundo!!!!!. Te quiero mucho, recibe un abrazo y un beso con todo mi cariño

María Eugenia Valenzuela y la abuelita María
Fri, Sep 10, 2010
Que tengas un Feliz 21 Cumpleaños, por una persona tan especial todos podemos luchar, Que Dios te bendiga

Emilio Mutis
Fri, Sep 10, 2010
Adriana:
Que Dios te bendiga y te proteja siempre en todo.

Maria Luz de Castillo
Thu, Sep 09, 2010
No he olvidado el día de otoño cuando me llamaron a decir que había nacido una niña en similares condiciones a las de mi hijo, que si podía conseguir una aplicación para el Hospital. Y la víspera de regresar a Colombia la Trabajadora Social me dijo que había sido aceptada, no nos conocíamos. Regresé el 18 de diciembre, y después del 24 fueron a visitarnos Manuel, Carmen y la pequeña Adriana con un pastel delicioso de las manos de Mini. Desde entonces la relación es más que una amistad, es más que hermanos, ha sido un caminar juntos y recibir de ellos tanto apoyo en tantas oportunidades. Los éxitos de Adriana en sus estudios y proyectos nunca me han sorprendido, digna hija de tales padres. Además de felicitar a Adriana por su cumpleaños y por la hermosa crónica, quiero hacerlo en forma muy especial a Manuel y a Carmen, que de Mini no tiene nada, ellos son grandes.

Olga Isaza
Thu, Sep 09, 2010
Ejemplo para mi y ejemplo para muchos. Gracias por haber enriquecido mi vida de tantas formas. Besos

Maria Patricia Vallejo D
Thu, Sep 09, 2010
Mi querida Adriana, tu mama y yo trabajamos muchos años juntas y estuvimos embarazadas al tiempo, nunca olvidare el dia que te conoci recien nacida ...el hogar al que llegaste es muy lindo....y ese amor ha quedado reflejado en lo que eres tu hoy, una gran persona, recibe de mi parte un gran abrazo con los mejores deseo que hay en este mundo.

Jennifer Schumacher
Thu, Sep 09, 2010
Dear Adriana, your gift back to the shriner's hospital is such a beautiful and generous way to celebrate all they've done for you. thank you for sharing your story, you are truly inspiring.

Amparo Ferro-Khan
Thu, Sep 09, 2010
Adriana: Thanks for putting your life into such beautiful words and sharing your story. I have followed your life since you were born by being proudly part of your mother's family close circle. You are not just the most beautiful woman in appearance, but with this gesture of giving back you show also your inner incomparable beauty. HAVE A WONDERFUL 21st. BIRTHDAY!!!

Rafael kiq' Avendaño
Thu, Sep 09, 2010
Siempre he admirado ese coraje primita, ademas de la devocion de tus papis para que no tuvieras limites, felicisisimos 21 y no dejes que nada te detenga.

Elizabeth Valenzuela
Wed, Sep 08, 2010
Adriana, la distancia física no nos tiene conectadas, pero con todo el corazón celebro tu cumpleaños... tus palabras son hermosísimas y con todo el amor del mundo, me uno a tu forma de celebrar.
No sólo eres una niña divina, sino que estás llena de miles de cosas maravillosas que compartes con todos los que te rodean... y son motivo de orgullo y alegría para todos en la familia.
Un abrazo gigante

Lani Bortfeld
Wed, Sep 08, 2010
Hola querida Adriana,
Me haces llorar. Recuerdo la primera vez que te mire, con la pedaza de metal en vez de una pierna, y que linda estabas! Con tu sonrisa a la misma vez dulce y fuerte, sabia que queria ser tu maestra.
Te echo mucho de menos.
Feliz cumpleanos,
Lani

Nancy Lutsko
Wed, Sep 08, 2010
I am Kimberly's Grandmother and she sent me the link for your story. I have always thought the world of the Shriners and even more so now that you have shared your personal story. I will be glad to donate in your name for your 21st birthday. You are an exceptional young lady and I amire your courage and postitive attitude. We can all learn a lot from you. May God continue to bless you thoughout your life.

Steve Robinson
Tue, Sep 07, 2010
Happy birthday Adriana, and thanks for sharing your story. Shine on.

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